Conor McGregor and Cristiano Ronaldo lead tributes to ‘The Eagle’ after shock announcement at UFC 254

Conor McGregor and Cristiano Ronaldo led the tributes to the outstanding career of Khabib Nurmagomedov after the Russian confirmed his retirement from MMA.

The Russian leaves the sport as one of the greatest to ever step into the octagon after forcing Justin Gaethje to tap out in the second round of their lightweight title fight at UFC 254.

His father, Abdulmanap, coached the legend all the way to the very pinnacle of the sport, but lost his battle to COVID-19 and passed away before the bout.

Khabib Nurmagomedov broke down in tears after beating Justin Gaethje

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Khabib Nurmagomedov broke down in tears after beating Justin Gaethje

Gaethje consoled Khabib after he broke down in tears

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Gaethje consoled Khabib after he broke down in tears

After moving to 29-0 and having never lost a round, Khabib proceeded to take his gloves off, place them in the middle of the octagon and confirm his exit.

He said: “Today, I want to say this was my last fight.

“Ain’t no way I’m going to come here without my father, it was the first time. After what happened with my father, when UFC called my about Justin I talked with my mother for three days.

“She warned me not to fight without father, but I promised her it was going to be my last fight.”

Khabib threw his gloves on the canvas after retiring

Getty Images – Getty

Khabib threw his gloves on the canvas after retiring

The Russian broke down in tears immediately after choking Gaethje out

Getty Images – Getty

The Russian broke down in tears immediately after choking Gaethje out

Immediately after the bout, friends and even former foes took the chance to compliment the Russian for his incredible exploits, with Juventus forward Ronaldo expressing his delight for his friend on Instagram.

He wrote: “Congrats bro! Your father is proud of you!”

McGregor, who enjoyed a fierce rivalry with the Russian which culminated in their controversial fight in 2018, took the time to put their feud aside and congratulated his adversary. Check out his reaction amongst many others from the MMA community.

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